There are few things that influence emotional state like color. When you are surrounded by a decor palette that works and that you love, other things fall into place just a little easier. But when a home paint and decor scheme is disjointed or disharmonious, adding expensive furniture and accessories is throwing good money after bad. Not to mention, it's just hard to relax when your colors are not in sync.
But how do you know what works when there are so many choices? Well, there's a science to choosing colors that work together.
Here's the stuff that's boring, but that has to be taken into account:
- All paint contains Titanium Dioxide, which is a white pigment that reflects light. It tends to reflect light toward the blue spectrum, which is why pure whites can look slightly blue in tone.
- Neutrals have undertones (the base color to which the grey or beige is added) and not all undertones play well together. Be careful which undertones you choose and combine.
- Lighting is a crucial element when choosing a color. Make sure to test paint at different times of day and lighting conditions.
This stuff can make anyone's head spin, so I wanted to find a proven system for choosing color that makes the process easier to understand and implement. While I have been helping friends with color and decor choices for years, I decided to complete training as a Certified Color Expert last year in order to help clients with a fully-developed color palette selection process.
Here's how it works.
START WITH WHITES
In Richmond, we love our white trims and crown moldings. But if you have tried to choose white paint, you know that all shades are NOT created equally.
There are 4 main types of white:
Within those categories are thousands of shades. But there are a few solid go-to whites that provide a gorgeous frame for your neutral and color hues. The important thing is to figure out which one works best with your existing finishes and then be consistent with your whites. Mixing shades of white can make a home look off before you even get to the fun part.
NEUTRALS ARE NEXT
Neutrals are currently having their day in the sun as designers on Pinterest, Instagram and HGTV are showcasing home after home bathed in the lightest of beiges, greys, greiges and whites. And many of you want that look in your own home.
There are two types of base neutrals:
Sounds easy enough, right? Well, each of these has a million different shades and, as I mentioned, all of these have colors as an undertone. And to confuse matters even more, now we have Greige, which combines the two and also has undertones.
The trick is figuring out what undertones existing finishes in your home dictate and using that to choose your neutrals. Think about elements that are likely not changing, like expensive tile, stone or brick.
If you love color, however, don't be afraid of neutrals. For instance, if you love purple, you can choose a grey that has a slight purple undertone and satisfy your love of lavender while still providing a pleasing backdrop upon which to layer other hues.
ADD COLORS THAT MAKE YOUR HEART SING
This is the fun part. But it comes with a warning. Our favorite stores make lots and lots of money by featuring new collections in the latest trending color schemes. And it's so easy to get sucked in and end up with a trunk full of bags and a whale of a credit card bill. The problem is, if you don't truly love those new colors, you will tire of them quickly and be tempted to buy more the next time a new collection hits the shelves.
Instead, you want to dig deep and ask yourself "what colors have I loved my whole life"? Is there a fabric, artwork/photo, decorative item that combines those colors beautifully? Chances are, if you listen to those color cues and let them inspire your palette, you will end up with a color story that you adore. You can then use different combinations of those colors throughout your home - and even add a trending pop of color every once in awhile to keep things fresh. Once you know your formula, you can carry it through the whole house in a beautiful and pleasing way.
If you would like help figuring out your perfect color palette, drop me a line. A color consultation costs under $200...far less than the cost of repainting and decorating with items that you don't love. Let's show your beloved home in its BEST LIGHT!
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